Primate Standoff: Encounter With Capuchin Monkeys

Hanging from a branch: white-faced capuchin monkeys, not much bigger than house cats.

Costa Rica monkey

When you’re new to the rainforest, everything about it seems life threatening. I noticed that even the shadows of monkeys looked hungry during a self-guided through Costa Rica’s La Selva Biological Field Station. The station is located about an hour outside of San Jose, the nation’s capital. La Selva welcomes tourists, researchers, and students to explore its extensive rain forests.

While taking advantage of the trail system, I heard a rustle overhead. Then another, and another, then suddenly a black body darted overhead from one tree to another. So like the great explorer that I am, I ran. I flew down the trail, but the rustling swiftly kept pace with me. As the trail approached a turn, I slowed and dared to look back at the menacing beast that would soon take my life.

There it was, hanging from a branch: a white-faced capuchin monkey, not much bigger than a house cat. A little anticlimactic, I know. Nevertheless, the monkey stared at me, and I stared back. As the tension of our stare down mounted, two other monkeys arrived. They all swayed ominously in the branches, fixated on me. It felt like we were all on-edge, wondering what was going to happen next. Then urine began raining from the sky. Yes, the monkeys tried to pee on me. That was my cue to go, to continue on the trail. On to the next adventure.

Costa Rica monkey 1

Sofia John

After living in Costa Rica for quite some time, Sofia developed a travel style that is "expect nothing, embrace everything." She loves Spain. When she travels, she can't live without...clean socks.

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